A Zed and Two Noughts - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

A Zed and Two Noughts Reviews

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December 9, 2017
Peter Greenaway's films may be an acquired taste, and this one certainly falls into that category - a visually stylistic examination into who-knows-what.
½ January 26, 2017
The wives of twin doctors working for a zoo are killed in a car accident. The woman in the other car survives, but loses a leg. The brothers develop an obsessive sexual relationship with her ... and a ton of other things happen. They become obsessed with death and film time lapse footage of putrefying animal corpses. A young girl learns the alphabet. They amputate the other leg because ... well, symmetry I guess. I like but don't love this film. It has a lot of Greenaway's hallmarks ... a slightly atypical, but incredible Michael Nyman score, stunning cinematography from Sacha Vierny (working with Greenaway for the first time) ... but the film is ultimately too meandering and unfocused for me.
May 27, 2015
Masterful and odd experimental film about morality and various levels of decay. It is an achievement full of artistic quality. The problem is that the whole pursuit is so off-kilter it seems to almost trip itself up.
September 7, 2014
At times it feels as if Greenaway's cinematic ambitions stretch beyond the limits of his story, but I've never seen another film quite like this -- unless that would be one of Greenaway's later films. This filmmaker was quite unique.
February 20, 2014
If you go down in the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise. If you go down in the woods today, you'd better go in disguise. For every bear that ever there was will gather there for certain because today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic. Picnic time for teddy bears; the little teddy bears are having a lovely time today. Watch them, catch them unawares and see them picnic on their holiday. See them gaily gad about; they love to play and shout, they never have any cares. At six o'clock their mommies and daddies will take them home to bed because they're tired little teddy bears. Every teddy bear who's been good is sure of a treat today. There's lots of marvelous things to eat and wonderful games to play. Beneath the trees where nobody sees they'll hide and seek as long as they please 'cos that's the way the teddy bears have their picnic. Picnic time for teddy bears; the little teddy bears are having a lovely time today. Watch them, catch them unawares and see them picnic on their holiday. See them gaily gad about; they love to play and shout, they never have any cares. At six o'clock their mommies and daddies will take them home to bed because they're tired little teddy bears.......
½ December 19, 2013
I mean, there's strange filmmakers, and then there's Peter Greenaway. Werner Herzog is strange. David Lynch is weird. Charlie Kaufman can be out there. But I honestly think Peter Greenaway might actually be an alien. Now, admittedly, I've only seen this film and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, which made a little bit more sense to me, but I have no idea what to do with Peter Greenaway at this point. I can only describe to you what I saw in this movie; I'm not really in a position to interpret or evaluate.

So, the movie's story, such as it is, begins with a car crash caused by a swan in which the wives of two twin zoologists both die. As a result of this tragedy, the zoologists become fascinated with decay and begin making time-lapse films of the decaying corpses of various animals. Meanwhile, both brothers are also having an affair with the woman who was driving the car, who now only has one leg. There's also a woman who has weird issues involving zebras. Also, one of the brothers likes putting snails all over his body. A plot synopsis of this movie sounds like the result of a game of Madlibs played by people on acid.

There's the story, but that's not really all that the movie is up to. Every inch of the mise-en-scene in Greenaway's shots is cluttered with stuff - furniture, lights, cameras, animal corpses, plants, and so on. It's obvious how much care and work went into the preparation of every scene of the film. On the one hand, the film is visually very dense and concrete; on the the other hand, it is narratively and thematically very abstract and unreadable. I watched the introduction Greenaway gives on the DVD before I watched the film itself, and he pointed out that the film had three main themes: twins, nature, and light. While I can certainly see that all of those elements are playing a huge role in the movie, I have no idea what, if anything, it's actually saying about any of them. It's more like the movie is simply meditating on these ideas for a while, looking at them from a bunch of different angles but offering no overarching synthesis or interpretive framework for the viewer. Greenaway seems to be an intensely intellectual filmmaker who comes up with ideas first, and builds character and plot around the ideas later. There's so much going on in the movie's frames that it's tempting to not even pay attention to the human actors or their impenetrable dialogue and instead just look at all the stuff.

And then there are the insert shots of time-lapsed decaying animal corpses. Did you ever want to see a zebra carcass decay? You can here!

I'm not saying the movie is bad, nor am I saying it is good. It is what it is; it seems to exist purely as a thought experiment for the director, and has no concern over how an audience might react to it. You might admire that sort of thing; you might find it repulsive. At the very least, I can say this - you don't know strange until you've seen a Peter Greenaway movie. This guy really might not even be a human.
November 30, 2013
A macabre tale of evolution, decay, and symmetry. It's as weird as it sounds, but than again, it's a Peter Greenaway movie. The dark humor is ever present, combined with hidden meanings and symbolism. The imagery is stunning with perfectly matching soundtrack.
November 23, 2013
a good twisted black comedy
February 6, 2013
Mi favorita del exentrico cineasta/artista visual Peter Greenaway. Obra de un verdadero visionario.
½ September 12, 2012
An interesting experiment and really, really beautiful at times, but a bit cold. Greenaway does away with all emotions in this over-the-top, iconic laden tale with the proportions of Greek mythology. I might give it a higher rating if I re-see it and connect a few more of the dots that Greenaway leaves all over the story, but that will most likely not be in the foreseeable future... Interesting, but not my favourite Greenaway.
September 1, 2012
Completely nuts, from beginning to end, and impossible to turn off. It's Peter Greenaway directing, so it takes a few turns at one's stomach, and there's plenty of nudity. I haven't figured the message or moral if there is to be one found, but it's a great head-trip.
May 8, 2012
An extremely odd black comedy, some of it works, for me, most of it did not.
½ May 5, 2012
A great film. I saw it because of the Mars Volta song Zed and Two Naughts and I was curious as to the title. This film was quite an interesting thing; surreal and dark, funny but also thoughtfully deep. It's a new favorite.
½ April 17, 2012
Its my view that you either GET Peter Greenaway or you just sit thier totally confused .

I do understand his films but a word of caution they are not for all tastes.
This one deals with two brothers who lose their wives in a car crash and spend the rest of the film obsessing about death ,decay and some sex .
The brothers spend hours shooting various items from appples to Zebras in various stages of decay while Michael Nyman plays on the soundtrack ,Frances Barber appears in various stages of undress and Jim Davidson ,yes that Jim Davidson plays a Zoo keeper.

What does it alll mean?
Well wahtever you want it to really the film s lets your imagiantion grow and the subjeact poses more questions than it answers.

The film on the whole kind of reminded me of the subjects David Cronenberg would be interested in ,and it is odd who Greenaway has struggled to get films made ,while Croneneberg continues to make challenging films.

Yre the film is a touch prententious ,but anyfilm which engages the brain must be doing something right ,even if it is a bit odd .
½ February 24, 2012
Caught this many years ago at the old Red Vic theater in San Francisco, where it opened for several days only. So glad I made the effort to get to this independent arthouse. Recently re-visited it on Blu-ray and it's even more spectacular and strange than I remembered...!
½ January 26, 2012
as usual with Greenaway, captivating visuals and score. the movie keeps you in an unreal world, brings a metaphore of the world being a dying animal, but is oten overintellectual. All those cultural references are a challenge for a demanding audience, though.
shitfaced8
Super Reviewer
October 11, 2011
My first foray into the work of Peter Greenaway, a filmmaker I have heard much about, and have wanted to get into for awhile, but just never got around to it until now. I was definently not disappointed with my first exposure to him. This film definently has high replay value, as I imagine new layers will show themselves upon repeated viewings. I'll start by saying that visually this movie is flawless. A feast for the eyes if there ever was one. The sets are meticulous. The film is overflowing with symbolism and metaphor. Even the costumes look like they were carefully selected to contribute to the overall feeling of the film. This isn't a case of style over substance either though. This film is dense in it's ideas and how it chooses to get those idea's across. There are a lot of recurring themes here (Grief, Decay, Loss, Rarities etc). So dense that I'm not going to try and explain what I think it all is supposed to mean, especially after first watch. I definently will be revisiting this movie again and again though, and I look forward to seeing more of Greenaway's work in the future. A must see if you enjoy Art House, Dark comedy, the bizarre and so on.
September 28, 2011
Peter Greenaway has a way with filmmaking that simultaneously makes me feel disgusting and enlightened. This is no exception. His use of mise-en-scene is incredible, but the screenplay falls apart before it even begins.
September 25, 2011
Interesting imagery and directing. Explores the themes of death, sex, symmetry, art and life repeatedly. Heavy on symbolism, despite being visually stimulating the awkward characters and bizarre plot it requires patience to sit through this film. A successful experiment by Greenaway, educational (17th century dutch painter Vermeer) but not particularly entertaining.
½ July 5, 2011
grose, artistic, biological, reflective, philosophical, words that describe this master piece
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